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  • Potatoes with black/hollow spots inside

    Posted by Kim Titus on Sunday, November 21, 2010 3:12 PM AST

    Hi. I have had trouble over the last couple of years with my potatoes being hollow inside and often have black spots inside too. They grow to be quite large in size. This has happen with Yukon Gold, Russets, Chieftains and Norland. Any advice on what to do?? All I have ever added was a handful of fertilzer in between the seeds.

    • re: Potatoes with black/hollow spots inside

      Posted by Pat Gallant on Friday, November 26, 2010 11:26 AM AST

      There are many diseases that can affect potatoes. Hollow heart, a cavity near the centre of the tuber, results from rapid tuber growth. The disorder is found primarily (but not only) in large potatoes. Walls of the cavities are white to light brown. There may also be some black spots. The disorder is difficult to detect because affected tubers have no external symptoms. Russet Burbanks are prone to hollow heart, but if conditions are right any variety can be affected. To reduce hollow heart: 1. Plant susceptible varieties at closer spacings; 2. Maintain uniform soil moisture throughout the entire growing season; and 3. Ensure adequate potassium fertility The black spots could also be from bruising caused by prolonged exposure to temperatures slightly above freezing. Symptoms range from grey to black patches in the tuber tissue to a brown discolouration of the vascular ring. Tubers often turn grey to black when boiled. Blackheart is prevented by proper ventilation, storing at recommended temperatures and improvement of soil drainage. Hope this helps!

    • re: Potatoes with black/hollow spots inside

      Posted by Susan on Tuesday, December 7, 2010 5:13 PM AST

      I have found that potatoes really like straw mulch. It helps to keep the moisture in and prevents the ups and downs of soil moisture content throughout the growing season. I mulch the row immediately after placing the tubers in the ground and then when the time comes to hill them, I just pull back the mulch, hill and then replace the mulch. This works well for the backyard gardener!! Also buckwheat is good for potatoes. I'm not exactly sure why, I leave that up to Mother Nature!! It can be sown along the row soon after the potatoes are planted and they grow together. There is no need for fertilizer. I've been gardening for over 30 years without it. Homemade compost, "green manure" and under-seeding are my choices for sustainable agriculture. Happy Companion Planting!!

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